A.S. Bhullar is very tense and so lonely as he goes about putting up his exhibition of seventeen works in the exhibition hall of Govt. Museum and Art Gallery, Chandigarh. ‘There are no fans in this sultry weather, no water to drink, just this stuffy hall.’ He complains. He is right. It is indeed pathetic that such basic needs of life should be denied to an artist who comes to exhibit his paintings in Chandigarh.

Bhullar began late in life to paint—in 1977 at the age of 38—that too without any formal education. It is only appropriate that he should have Nek Chand the creator of the Rock Garden, another untutored artist to inaugurate his exhibition. Neck Chand’s art has ‘folkish’ charm, but Bhullar’s workhas a certain delicacy and sophistication. He is obsessed with Space, and Sea. His human forms here and there tend to merge into space or sea and thus the entire composition tends to be somewhat Surrealistic. His colours are soft and melting, and his forms emerge from space or from one another. But they are all Fantasies, Indeed his titles are misleading: ‘Creator the Protector, Uneding Research, Mystic Melody, Hidden Treasure’… you look for their significance or meaning, and you wish that the titles were not there. The explanation that Hand of God is protecting the Human form from the harsh environment in the painting called ‘Creator the Protector’ is, to say the least, naïve and forced. It is better to look at the work as pure compositions and fantasies. Indeed the feeling of the Seacomes through very well in most of the paintings. One visualises the creavices, the humps, and the strangeforms of life in the sea bed with childlike curiosity and is fascinated. Among his paintings the Mystic Melody-I has great depth. In one frame it encompasses the drops of nectar falling in the seashell and the infinite Space in the background altogether evoking a melodious mood.

The exhibition is open till September 21 from 10 A.M. to 6 P.M. daily.

Aditya Prakash